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Billionaires 2024
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16x9-intro-illustration by Kevin McGivern for forbes-HRes

Forbes’ 38th Annual World’s Billionaires List: Facts And Figures 2024

Christian Louboutin, Sam Altman, Elon Musk illustration by Kevin McGivern for forbes
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The planet has a record 2,781 billionaires who are worth a record $14.2 trillion. Here’s who’s up, who’s down, who’s new and who’s off the ranking.

By Chase Peterson-Withorn, Forbes Staff


It’s been a banner year for the mega-wealthy. Forbes found an unprecedented 2,781 billionaires around the globe for this year’s World’s Billionaires list—141 more than in 2023 and 26 more than the previous record, set in 2021. The super-rich are also richer than ever, with their combined wealth hitting $14.2 trillion—$2 trillion more than just a year ago and $1.1 trillion above the previous record, also set in 2021.

As with the economy in general, the money is concentrated at the very top. There are now a record 14 people who are members of the $100 Billion Club, the elite group of people whose fortunes stretch into 12 digits. That’s up from just one four years ago. These lucky few are worth $2 trillion in all, meaning just 0.5% of the world’s 2,781 billionaires hold 14% of all billionaire wealth.

The richest of all is Bernard Arnault, who holds the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row. The French luxury goods kingpin is worth an estimated $233 billion, $22 billion more than in 2023 thanks to another record year for his conglomerate LVMH, the company behind brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Sephora. He’s $38 billion richer than the world’s No. 2, Elon Musk, who is worth an estimated $195 billion. Just behind him, at No. 3, is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who is worth an estimated $194 billion. Forbes used stock prices and exchange rates from March 8, 2024 for this year’s ranking. (For daily movements of fortunes, see our Real-Time tracker.)

Two-thirds of the planet’s billionaires are richer than a year ago. No one has gained more, in sheer dollar terms, than Mark Zuckerberg, who has benefited—to the tune of a $116.2 billion jump in a single year—thanks to Meta stock nearly tripling amid cost-cutting layoffs and big bets on AI and the metaverse. Zuck is No. 4 on Forbes’ 2024 ranking, worth an estimated $177 billion, the richest he’s ever been. Oracle’s Larry Ellison, worth an estimated $141 billion, rounds out the top five.


WORLDWIDE BILLIONAIRE WEALTH


Zuckerberg and Ellison are just two of the scores of technology moguls who are significantly richer than a year ago. The AI gold rush is on, helping to add more than a dozen newcomers working in artificial intelligence to the ranks, including Super Micro Computer’s Charles Liang (worth an estimated $6.1 billion)—and his wife, Sara Liu ($1.5 billion); Advanced Micro Device’s Lisa Su ($1.3 billion); and longtime Nvidia board member Harvey Jones ($1 billion). OpenAI’s Sam Altman is also now a billionaire, thanks to investments he made when he was president of startup incubator Y Combinator from 2014 to 2019, an early bet on Stripe and stakes in Reddit and nuclear fusion startup Helion. Rabid demand for AI has also boosted tech stocks generally, pushing the combined wealth of the world’s tech billionaires up by some $750 billion—to $2.6 trillion, more than any other industry—in just a year.

Celebrities are getting richer, too. Taylor Swift ($1.1 billion) joins the 2024 ranks—the first musician to do it based solely on songwriting and performing—after the record-breaking first leg of her Eras tour. TV producer Dick Wolf ($1.2 billion), the mastermind behind shows such as Law & Order and Chicago, is also new to the billionaires list, as is Magic Johnson, the NBA hall-of-famer who really made his stash after retirement, through savvy business deals and stakes in several sports teams, one of the best paths to getting rich(er). They join nearly a dozen other famous A-list billionaires, including George Lucas ($5.5 billion), Michael Jordan ($3.2 billion) and Kim Kardashian ($1.7 billion).

In all, 265 fresh faces are new to the World’s Billionaires. The richest of all is Italy’s Andrea Pignataro, a former Salomon Brothers bond trader behind financial software firm ION Group. He’s worth an estimated $27.5 billion. Other notable newcomers include the founder of the Raising Cane’s fast-food chain Todd Graves ($9.1 billion); Maggie Gu, Molly Miao and Ren Xiaoqing ($4.2 billion each)—three cofounders of fast-fashion giant Shein; iconic high-heel designer Christian Louboutin ($1.2 billion); and Elon Musk pal, and Tesla and SpaceX investor, Antonio Gracias ($1.1 billion).

The United States is, once again, the country with the most billionaire citizens, with a record-breaking 813, worth $5.7 trillion (compared to 735, worth $4.5 trillion, in 2023). China remains second, despite troubles in the Asian nation, with 473 (including Hong Kong) worth $1.7 trillion. India, meanwhile, is surging. There are now 200 Indian billionaires, the most ever, worth $954 billion.


WHERE ARE THE BILLIONAIRES

The United States still boasts the highest number of billionaires, with a record 813, followed by mainland China (406), India (200) and Germany (132).


Women are still woefully underrepresented, accounting for just 369 of the planet’s 2,781 billionaires—or about 13%, the same as last year. The richest woman is once again Fran?oise Bettencourt Meyers, the Fresh heiress to the L'Oréal fortune. She’s worth an estimated $99.5 billion. The richest self-made woman remains Swiss shipping tycoon Rafaela Aponte-Diamant ($33.1 billion).

Overall, 66% of the world’s billionaires are self-made—meaning they founded or cofounded their company or established their own fortune, rather than inheriting it–down from 69% in 2023. That includes nearly all 17 of the cryptocurrency billionaires on the 2024 list, who have come roaring out of the “crypto winter,” thanks to Bitcoin and other crypto assets trading at record highs.

One reason behind the declining share of self-made billionaires is the start of the great wealth transfer around the world. For instance, when Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi died last year, his five children took his place in the ranks. The average age of a billionaire is 66. The oldest list member is 102-year-old insurance tycoon George Joseph ($1.7 billion), one of 425 people who are 80 or older. The youngest billionaire around the globe is 19-year-old Livia Voigt, a Brazilian heiress whose grandfather cofounded electrical equipment producer WEG. Still in university, she’s two months older than the second-youngest billionaire Forbes found, Clemente Del Vecchio, one of several heirs to the fortune of Leonardo Del Vecchio, the founder of eyewear colossus EssilorLuxottica. There are 25 people on the list who are 33 years old or younger, though only 7 are self-made (none of whom are under 30).

Still—even in such boom times for billionaire wealth—bankruptcy, scandal and stock crashes helped knock 189 people off the Forbes list. Among them: Bolt’s Ryan Breslow, whose payment startup has unraveled; bankrupt Austrian real estate mogul Rene Benko; and Hui Ka Yan, the embattled chairman of property developer China’s troubled Evergrande Group. Another 32 people from the 2023 list died over the past year, including former President of Chile Sebastián Pi?era, Intel cofounder Gordon Moore, investor Charlie Munger and singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett.

Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list is a ranking of every person on the planet with a net worth of $1 billion U.S. dollars or more as of March 8, 2024. When possible, we met with billionaires in person or spoke with them virtually or by phone. We also interviewed their employees, handlers, asset managers and financial advisors, rivals, peers and attorneys. Uncovering their fortunes required us to pore over thousands of Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory documents, court filings, probate records and news articles. We took into account all types of assets: stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art, yachts, planes, ranches, vineyards, jewelry, car collections and more. We factored in known debt and charitable giving. We exclude dispersed family fortunes, though we list wealth belonging to the immediate family of the living founder of a fortune under the founder’s name. In some cases, we also include wealth held by the immediate family member of an heir. In either of those instances, you’ll see “& family” in a person’s listing.

For the full list of the world’s 2,781 billionaires, see here.


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